A severe blow to the left in the United States by defeating the mayor of Chicago

A swath of Democrats’ flirtation with cuts to police budgets, after intense racial protests in 2020, is taking its toll on them as the primaries and elections approach. Only four years ago Lori Lightfoot She rose as one of the greatest rising stars of the American left, the first black woman, also openly lesbian, to win a mayoral election dominated for decades by extended families and clans with close ties to unions and legal entities.The police.

On Tuesday, surprisingly, Lightfoot lost his party’s primary in a city that hasn’t been governed by a Republican since 1931. And, according to polls, the insecurity on the streets of Chicago made it happen. In his first year in office, murders rose from 500 to 776 a year; Then they increased in 2021, to 802, and finally in 2022 they decreased slightly to 688, a number not seen since the 1990s, when the city vied for the daunting title of crime capital of the United States.

No re-election

Lightfoot is the first mayor not to be re-elected in Chicago in four decades. The former who lost office, in the same initial manner, was the only other female mayor, Jane Byrnewhose tenure was fraught with controversies due to various union strikes and the resentment they caused among the African American population.

Eventually, much to his dismay, Lightfoot was one of the faces of the movement to cut the police. She has long said she hasn’t fully shared the concept, which is popular among certain segments of the left but toxic to mainstream voters, according to Primary Evolution. But in his first budget after the protests over the killing of George Floyd at the hands of the police, and the consequent looting, it included cuts of up to $80 million to the police force in his city.

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The other two candidates, Paul Fallas and Brandon Johnson, advance to the second round. The first campaign proposes increased investment in the police, and the second appeared out of nowhere and reached the second round with the support of unions and the promise of spending more on education. The vote to decide who governs the third largest US city, after New York and Los Angeles, will take place on April 4. Candidate Fallas, with the support of the police union, took first place in the first round, with 37% of the vote, 172,000. Johnson came in at 20% and Lightfoot was a humiliating third, short of rising above 17%, or 86,000 ballots.

In the second round of 2019, he got more than 386,000 votes. But in July 2021, with only two years in office, the mayor was already in deep trouble. In one weekend, 100 shootings took place in the city. President Joe Biden visited and met Lightfoot. He promised federal aid. There was even talk of a possible deployment of the National Guard, which did not materialize. The mayor’s turnaround was completed at the end of last year, when she said she was now in favor of strengthening the police force, and that reducing the police was never with her.

wake-up call

Now, his defeat is a wake-up call for other Democratic mayors in major cities where post-pandemic crime has increased.

This year there are elections in cities like Philadelphia or Houston. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, of Trump’s Republican wing, gave Lightfoot and the Democrats a new motto laced with sarcasm: “Crime does not persuade.” Nor is it necessary to focus on Republicans to find criticisms of Lightfoot and what he stands for. The first mayoral candidate, Fallas, summed up his ambitious government program in one sentence: “We will make Chicago the safest city in America.”

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Public safety has been a priority issue in other recent elections. On some occasions, voters acted without waiting for a date with the ballot boxes. Last year, in an unusual turn, the San Francisco bastion of the left was removed from office in an extraordinary vote. Former Attorney General Chesa Bowden, an avowed fan of Chaismo, is in the midst of a wave of citizen insecurity, with burglaries and robberies breaking out. .

These defeats mark the beginning of a long series of election campaigns, which will culminate in the 2024 presidential election. At the moment, there are few confirmed candidates. Joe Biden dominates the Democratic field, with remarkably centrist politics, at least in the area of ​​policing.

On the Republican side, only Donald Trump and the ambassador who was his ambassador to the United Nations, declared, Nikki Hi. Both criticized statements by some Democrats in favor of reducing police forces.

Protests over Floyd’s death in Minneapolis in 2020 have forced police reforms in major cities, but few major financial cuts, especially due to increased crime. In Washington, the local government, also a Democrat, has approved new legislation that would reduce or eliminate jail terms for crimes considered minor, such as carjacking, but many Democrats on Capitol Hill oppose it and will veto it. Being a federal district, the legislature has the final say in the capital’s government.

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